Mercedes-Benz has taken the covers off the third-generation B-Class, the more practical MPV version of the sleek A-Class hatch.
Compared to the outgoing model, Mercedes has tried to make the B-Class sleeker and less-MPV-like. To do it, they’ve lowered the roofline, fitted the company’s new corporate front fascia, a smoother tailgate with a huge roof spoiler and sharp LED headlights and tail-lights. It’s not as good-looking as the A-Class (and it’s not meant to be), but it certainly looks considerably better than the second-generation model and its rivals.
Dimensionally, the new B is identical in length, but slightly wider and taller than its predecessor. Drag coefficient is rated at 0.24, down 0.1 over the previous model, thanks to the aforementioned lower roofline and other aerodynamic features. Boot space ranges from 455 to 705 litres based on configuration, with that expanding to 1540L with the second row folded down.
Inside, the B-Class gets the A-Class’ high-tech infotainment setup, with two 10.25-inch screens running the German brand’s MBUX system – it includes cool features like augmented-reality navigation and the ‘Hey Mercedes’ AI personal assistant. Safety technology has been taken straight from the S-Class, including adaptive cruise control that changes the car’s speed based on sat-nav data, autonomous emergency braking and lane change assist.
Five powertrains will be offered at launch, all of which drive the front wheels: two petrols and three diesels. Petrol options consist of the B180 and B200, both powered by the same 1.33-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 100kW/200Nm and 120kW/250Nm depending on spec respectively – both variants utilise seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions.
The entry-level diesel is the B180d, motivated by an 85kW/260Nm 1.5-litre turbo-four, connected to a seven-speed DCT auto. The higher-spec B200d and B220d models use a new Euro 6-compliant 2.0-litre motor, which produces 110kW/320Nm and 140kW/400Nm respectively based on trim – it’s paired to a new eight-speed dual-clutch auto.
Mercedes-Benz says that all-wheel-drive ‘4Matic’ models will be available post-launch, along with new engine variants.
All models feature conventional torsion-beam rear suspension, with a four-link independent system available on higher grades. A 43L fuel tank is standard, while a 51L can be optioned on certain variants.
The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class goes on sale in Europe later this year, with an Australian launch scheduled for mid-2019.